Saturday, May 24, 2014

Darius and Twig by Walter Dean Myers

Summary courtesy of
New York Times bestselling author and Printz Award winner Walter Dean Myers once again connects with teenagers everywhere in Darius & Twig, a novel about friendship and needing to live one's own dream. This touching and raw teen novel from the author of MonsterKickWe Are AmericaBad Boy, and many other celebrated literary works for children and teens is a Coretta Scott King Honor Book.
Darius and Twig are an unlikely pair: Darius is a writer whose only escape is his alter ego, a peregrine falcon named Fury, and Twig is a middle-distance runner striving for athletic success. But they are drawn together in the struggle to overcome the obstacles that life in Harlem throws at them. The two friends must face down bullies, an abusive uncle, and the idea that they'll be stuck in the same place forever.

Review - 
145th Street Harlem… No protection from the gangs, violence, and thugs outside the front steps or absent fathers, depressed mothers and abusive uncles behind closed doors.  Unsupportive teachers and counselors at school who have lost faith in motivating their students. No guidance, no faith, no hope…

But two best friends, Darius and Twig, are there to support each other; to find vision and purpose; to find the best in each other.  Darius is a young aspiring writer who has a chance at a college scholarship if he could just revise the story he turned into the college magazine, The Delta Review. Twig is an exceptional middle length runner who sees his for chance for college if he stands out at his high school track meets. Both have dreams of coveted scholarships and the chance to be move beyond the low expectations of the people around them.

This is a story of True friendship!

Like Darius’s alter ego, his imaginary Peregrine falcon; Fury… these boys are going to fly!!!

Walter Dean Myers, who grew up in Harlem, is celebrated for an expressive, genuine writing style that depicts the essence of the inner city. Darius and Twig is no exception; care is taken to emphasize the hope for the characters without losing their urban dialect. Characters in the story like Midnight and Tall Boy or Twig’s Uncle paint a harsh picture of their worlds. This relatively short yet gripping novel; only 201 pages will attract reluctant readers.  The language used is strong and the situations are violent. For this reason I would recommend the book to readers in grades 8 and up. I would also recommend listening to this book on audioCD. Brandon Gill does a superb job giving distinct voices to the various characters. I feel it gave me a better appreciation for the novel than if I had just read the book. 

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